Ask Duke: Where Was Jesus Born?

Duke Rose, Trinity Church mascot

If you are reading this December 3 or after, Happy Advent! What an awesome time of year. Advent is the season where we prepare for the birth of Jesus.  You can think of it as a giant birthday party for Jesus, and we’re all invited! That reminds me of a question from Ms. Lauren Michelle’s Sunday School class. The kids ask: Where was Jesus born? Great question!

We celebrate the birth of Jesus on December 25. That’s Christmas! This answers when we celebrate, but our smart Sunday School children want to know where he was born. How do we answer that? If you said that we look to the Bible, you’re right. The Bible tells us all we need to know.  Matthew and Luke talk about Jesus’ birth. We read in Luke that Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth, but had to return to Joseph’s hometown of Bethlehem to be counted by the government in a process called a census. While they were in Bethlehem, Jesus was born.

Here’s something really cool. Bethlehem is called the city of David.  You might remember David when he was a boy and fought a giant named Goliath. David grew up to be a king one thousand years before Jesus lived. He was also a relative of Joseph. So, Jesus was considered to be from the “House of David,” meaning he was a relative of David. This was predicted, or “prophesied” in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament).

Ask your parents, older brothers or sisters, or your grandparents to help you find Bethlehem on a map. It’s in the country of Israel. Bethlehem is 5,904 miles from McLean. If you took a plane from Washington, it would take you about 15 hours to fly to Tel Aviv, then you’d still have to drive another 36 miles to get to Bethlehem. Although Jesus’ place of birth is far away from us, his love is as close as our heart. As we celebrate with gifts on Christmas day, let’s also remember the greatest gift of all: Jesus.

Merry Christmas and remember our motto: Paws for Jesus!


Bridging God’s Word into Everyday Life

By James C. Sprouse, Senior Pastor

Why does Trinity Church exist? According to Matthew’s Gospel, the reason is made clear – we are to “Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20.

Based on the Great Commission, Trinity Church follows the stated purpose of the United Methodist Church, “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” The mission of our congregation from our Next Level Innovation weekend is Bridging God’s Word into Everyday Life. I see this as a four-fold task.

First: we reach out to people and welcome them into Trinity Church. We have the missional challenge of connecting our church to the world around our facilities, and the communities where we work, play, shop, study, and worship. We have the missional challenge of connecting our church to all the hurts, doubts and questions of the people around us. Our mission is to find them, reach out to them, listen to them, accept them and share the gospel in word and deed.

Second: we relate to people and help them deepen their spiritual relationship with God. Trinity does this by providing opportunities for growing closer to God. Whether guests or long-time members, we all need God’s love in Christ. Through worship, prayer, study, honest sharing, and finding where God needs us to be in mission – we help each other discover that the Holy Spirit is not far off but a present reality among us. We need to encourage each other to give our lives to Christ, and to center our lives in a very real, living and present God.

Third: we nurture people in Christian lifestyle. Trinity Church helps people practice the disciplines of discipleship. Our church exists to serve not be served. We gather for worship not only for our own personal spiritual formation and growth, but also to prepare and equip ourselves for doing the work of love and be Christ’s disciples in our community and world. We are strengthened for ministry through worship, baptism, Communion, Bible study, prayer and all other means of grace.

Fourth: we support people in their ministry. As members of Trinity Church, we’re sent into our community and world to serve others in need and make our community and world more loving and just. We believe the Holy Spirit empowers and guides us. Where ever we go we can expect to meet Christ already at work. Our congregation exists, in part, to surround and support each other in her and his ministry. With the loving support of this kind of community we can continue to grow and reach others for Christ.

All this is the missional challenge of the church and Trinity Church. The only mission that counts is God’s mission. We need to view the world and Christ’s mission in a new light. We no longer look at the world for any gaps in mission so we can take God to where God isn’t now. Instead, let’s look at the world as God’s- a place where God’s love and care are already, and everywhere, at work. We don’t take mission outside Trinity’s walls – we go out to meet the mission already there.


A Chance to Feed Others and a Chance to Feed Your Soul

By Eileen Gilmer, Associate Pastor

How did it get to be November? I know I ask myself this question each year. As we move closer to Advent, I have two great opportunities for you. They offer ways to nourish and renew; one is for others and one is for you. In this busy time of year, I hope you’ll find space in your schedule to take part.

The first is Rise Against Hunger. (That’s the new name for Stop Hunger Now.) This is a wonderful project that helps feed the hungry across the globe. Families are welcome to attend. (Children should be ages four and up.) It’s a good opportunity for multi-generational service. Rise Against Hunger is an international hunger relief organization that helps impoverished people throughout the world. Trinity has supported this effort for several years.

Our goal is to make 300,000 meals at our McLean event. The meal packages we assemble that day will be sent to Nicaragua, which was ravished by Hurricane Nate. Come join people from all over the area to help!

Rise Against Hunger

Saturday, November 4

Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

Shifts start at 8 a.m., 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

To sign up, just let me know and I can register you, or go to

The second event is an Advent Bible study. It’s based on Max Lucado’s book Because of Bethlehem. Cokesbury publishers describes the Bible study this way: Because of Bethlehem, God knows what it is like to be a human. When we talk to God about our challenges, our struggles, and our tough times, God understands, because he’s been there. God’s been here. This Advent study will remind us of these truths and give us hope.

I have some books ordered, so if you would like one let me know. They are also offered through Amazon or

Because of Bethlehem

November 12 & 19, December 3 & 10

9:30 a.m.

Fellowship Building, Room 302

I’ll see you at church!


Sports, Technology, Character and the Church

By Keith Lee, Associate Pastor

I’m convinced that technology will help the church overcome present and future challenges. Initially for this article I wanted to show an example of how technology and data science in sports have transformed two of the most cursed organizations. However, in my research I found that the church has something far greater to offer: people with character who overcome adversities, failures, and hardships.

Have you heard about the ‘Curse of the Bambino’ or the ‘Curse of the Billy Goat’? These were superstitious explanations about the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs not being able to win the World Series for the longest time; for Boston it was 86 years and Chicago 108 years. But one person is credited in ending curses for both teams, Theo Epstein. When he started out in Boston, he was committed to using data analysis and latest technological advances. For example, Red Sox interns went to NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis to examine 30 years’ worth of college baseball stats to look for characteristics of college players who became productive major leaguers. They worked with neuroscientists to study the brain makeup of great hitters. The Boston Red Sox’s success was mainly credited to Epstein’s commitment to ‘Moneyball’ (the data analysis approach to sports). However, he hit a snag. He found that winning and success were only parts of the solution. Something far greater was in need- athletes with character.

When the Red Sox team that won two World Series had an embarrassing late season collapse in 2011, Mr. Epstein observed that even though players looked great on paper, some of them had serious character flaws. Therefore, when he started to work for the Cubs he placed an upmost importance on character. Instead of just looking at numbers and analytical data, he asked his scouts to examine adversities that prospective athletes had to overcome on and off the field. Moreover, his scouts were instructed to ask potential recruits’ friends, coworkers and family members these questions: How does he treat people when no one’s looking? What do his friends say about him? What do his enemies say about him? How does he treat people he doesn’t necessarily have to treat well? He wanted to emphasize that the heart and soul of an athlete are greater than the sum of the physical attributes.

As I stated previously I wanted to highlight the importance of using technology to overcome some of the challenges that Trinity faces. I still believe that because businesses, government agencies, sports teams, and non-profits that skillfully employ science and big data will move forward. Moreover, Mr Epstein’s experiences help me to appreciate that the core mission of the church is still to meet the core needs of humanity, building character. Through researching about Mr. Epstein, I learned, Yes! Technology is needed in the church. It’s needed so that we could continue to make disciples of Jesus who bear the cross to overcome injustice, apathy, and violence through godly character, perseverance, and faithfulness.


November 2017 Schedule of Events

Nov. 1 Charge Conference, 7 p.m. Everyone is invited.
Nov. 4 Rise Against Hunger

at Lutheran Church of the Redeemer

See Pastor Eileen’s article for details about this opportunity to help feed the world.
Nov. 5 Child Protection Training An annual training workshop for anyone who works with children, youth and at-risk adults. To learn more:
Nov. 5 Town Hall Meeting To hear feedback about the NLI report.
Nov. 6 Crafts for a Cause
7—8:30 p.m.
Join us as we prepare for our Holiday Bazaar. Learn more:
Nov. 10 Office Closed  
Nov. 12 Martha’s Table Sandwich Making We’ll make 900 sandwiches and snack baggies for the homeless.
Nov. 12 Town Hall Meeting Continued discussions of NLI report.
Nov. 12 Thanksgiving Feast See more on page 3 and on our website under Get Involved.
Nov. 14 Book Chat
6:30 p.m.
The Road to Character by David Brooks
Nov. 14 Trustees Meeting  
Nov. 18 Christ House  
Nov. 19 Craft Holiday Bazaar begins  
Nov. 19 Town Hall Meeting NLI Vote on recommendations in NLI report.
Nov. 20 Crafts for a Cause
7—8:30 p.m.
Join us as we prepare for our Holiday Bazaar. Learn more:
Nov. 21 Christmas Trees Arrive  
Nov. 23-34 Office Closed  
Nov. 24 Christmas Tree Sales begin Support Trinity’s youth and Boy Scouts with the purchase of a beautiful, live Christmas tree.
Nov. 26 Poinsettia Orders Due Find an order form on our website under Get Involved

Church & Society: Nov. 2017

Fall Good Works Day – Fun-Filled Success

Thank you to all the volunteers who rolled up their sleeves and worked hard alongside their fellow congregants to make Fall Good Works Day a fun-filled success! We did work all around the church building and yard, wrote letters to the children at the Heart to Heart Village in Honduras, assembled books for Stanton Elementary, and took a trip to help at Share. We hope to see everyone at the next Good Works Day next Spring!

Science Day at DC Scholars at Stanton Elementary School

Join us in volunteering for DC Scholars at Stanton Elementary’s annual Science Day for 4th and 5th graders! We will carpool from the Trinity parking lot at 8 a.m. on November 6 (Fairfax Teacher Work Day) and return back to Trinity around 2 p.m. Please contact Suzanne Hamilton if you are interested in volunteering.

Collections for Share

During the months of November and December, we are collecting tuna, rice in 2 lb. bags, cooking oil, canned beans, peanut butter, pasta and sauce, diapers (especially sizes 4-6), baby wipes, baby shampoo, diaper rash cream, toilet paper, paper towels, laundry and dish soap and Safeway/Giant gift cards for Share. Share is a food pantry and family assistance program located in the heart of McLean that serves approximately 300 needy families from McLean, Great Falls, and the Pimmit Hills area of Falls Church each month. Please place your donations in the bins outside the Sanctuary and in the Fellowship Lobby (please drop off Safeway/Giant gift cards in the church office).

 Thanksgiving Feast

Our churchwide Thanksgiving Feast will take place on Sunday, November 12, after the 10:30 worship service. The entire congregation is invited to Langley Hall with your favorite potluck dish to share. Watch the bulletin for more information. Please bring canned beans, 2 lb. bags of rice or peanut butter to be donated to Share, and plan to join us for this delicious feast. Everyone is welcome!

Angel Tree Time!

Even though it’s not even Thanksgiving, it isn’t too early to start thinking about Christmas trees – or at least trees with angels attached. In the Narthex, you’ll soon see a tree adorned with angels. Each angel represents someone in our community who is helped by Share, an organization that provides food, clothing and financial assistance. By selecting an angel, and bringing in a gift, you’ll be sharing Christ’s love with those in our community who are most in need.

Trinity Trebles and Adult Choirs, Nov. 2017

Seek Ye First

The Trinity Trebles will sing their second song, Seek Ye First on November 12 at the 10:30 a.m. service. A hymn from our United Methodist Hymnal written in 1972 and composed by Karen Lafferty, the text comes from the book of Matthew 6:33 and 7:7. The text reminds us that if we seek God and ask for His aid that He will open the door to us and his grace. I am excited for the children to share this piece with the congregation because they are also singing in two parts on the second verse. This is the first time our group will sing in multiple parts. A small group of singers will sing a descant over the second verse of text, while the majority of the choir sings the verse. The kids can’t wait to share what they have learned! Don’t forget, it’s never too late to join The Trinity Trebles. Questions? – Ask Catherine Wethington.


To commemorate All Saints Day (November 1), the Chancel Choir will sing four selections from Gabriel Fauré’s serene and consoling Requiem at the 10:30 service on November 5:

In Paradisum: May angels lead you into paradise and martyrs bring you into the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels welcome you, and, like Lazarus, may you have eternal rest.

Libera me: Deliver me, Lord, from that day when heaven and earth shall quake as you judge the world. Eternal rest grant them, O Lord…

Sanctus: Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts. Heaven and earth are full of your glory. Glory be to you, O Lord, Hosanna in the highest.

Agnus Dei: Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, grant them everlasting rest. Let perpetual light shine upon them together with your saints, for you are good.

In acknowledgment of God’s countless gifts to us, the Trinity Ringers will present a song of thanksgiving at the 10:30 service on November 19. Come, Ye Thankful People, Come: Matt Johnson’s 1999 version of the 1856 English hymn ST. GEORGE’S WINDSOR (see #694 in our Hymnal) wordlessly conveys our gratitude to God.